Contact: USDA Office of Communication (202) 720-4623
Larry Hawkins (916) 857-6243
USDA SUSPENDS SPANISH CLEMENTINE IMPORTS
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2001--The U.S. Department of Agriculture has suspended indefinitely the entry of clementine citrus from Spain.
This action has been taken because live Mediterranean fruit fly larvae have been found in Spanish clementines in Louisiana, Maryland and North Carolina.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has banned the sale or distribution of Spanish clementines in states where the pest could survive:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
The fruit must be removed from retail shelves.
With advance approval from USDA or state agriculture officials, the fruit may be destroyed or shipped to an approved location.
(Ceratitis capitata) is one of the world's most destructive agricultural pests, threatening more than 250 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables.
The female Medfly attacks ripening fruit, piercing the soft skin, and laying eggs in the puncture.
The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed inside the fruit pulp.
The United States has no established Medfly populations, and USDA will remain vigilant in its efforts to prevent foreign introductions of this pest.